My base tongue is
rock, even more foundational
than English. My dialect, punk
underlaid with classic,
smatterings of metal. I know
a few words in prog.
Old blues and country and basic folk
are a second language to me,
mostly because I have a passion for
etymology that led me to
learning them to better understand
my root and seed.
I know enough jazz to do more
than get by. It’s a language
I love; I’m swiftest to translate fusion
in my head, but nuances may
slip by if couched too deeply in bop
or swing; most excited when I hear
free being spoken, though I cannot
say a word.
Orchestral? Fine. Chamber?
Fine. I grew up surrounded,
immersed in these and opera too,
but have lost the taste for them
and now it’s like recalling
childhood as it was before my memory
was solid enough to track.
I wish I could speak hip hop
better than I can now. I know
what I love of it and how it fastens
to poetry, my first and best craft.
I am resolved to any facility
I may yet develop being
strictly rote, merely mechanical;
I am serene in knowing hip hop
is now and forever will be fine
I turn it all off
and face the world:
salsa, son, bachata, merengue;
rai, reggae, reggaeton, dub;
Breton, Irish, Scottish, English;
K-pop, J-pop, EDM, trance;
drum and bass, raga, township jive;
how much noise do you want me to love?
How many tongues can this old man learn?
Then there’s this:
somewhere on a beach
with no musicians around for miles,
the ocean, the drummer,
is still beating time
on the earth itself.